Mainly McManaman

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the sport side, where I’ve been covering all manner of football-related events, ranging from U19 friendly fixtures to full World Cup Qualifiers. There’s been one stand-out moment from this time, consisting of a picture mainly involving a certain Callum McManaman, however that’s just one of all sorts from the last fortnight, which can be seen below…

Fans leave the ground at the end of the match between Everton and Wigan Athletic
Fans leave the ground at the end of the match between Everton and Wigan Athletic

 

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson signs autographs before their FA Cup match against Chelsea
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson signs autographs before their FA Cup match against Chelsea

 

A fan makes his way up the steps to his seat before Blackburn Rovers' FA Cup replay against Millwall
A fan makes his way up the steps to his seat before Blackburn Rovers’ FA Cup replay against Millwall

 

A rare ‘double-header’ saw me photograph Manchester City’s lunchtime fixture against Everton, before heading over to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on Reading in the teatime match…

 

Man City manager Roberto Mancini controls the ball on the sideline during their match away to Everton
Man City manager Roberto Mancini controls the ball on the sideline during their match away to Everton

 

Wayne Rooney of Man Utd scores the only goal of the game in their home fixture against Reading
Wayne Rooney of Man Utd scores the only goal of the game in their home fixture against Reading

 

Having stayed with friends in Preston that night, the next day I made the short journey three junctions down the M6 to Wigan, who were taking on Newcastle United in a late afternoon kick-off. I arrived at the DW Stadium with a heart full of hope, and a belly empty of food…little did I know the highs and lows ahead of me. I wound my way into the press room and helped myself to a warm, wholesome lunch before heading out into the bitter cold for 90 minutes.

I chose to shoot Newcastle’s attack for both halves, taking into consideration our French clients and the number of players from that side of the channel currently residing in the north east. This proved extremely beneficial.

With 20 minutes or so having been played, the ball came across to Massadio Haidara on their left wing. His first touch was a poor one and the ball bounced away from him. As he stepped across to retrieve it, I could see out of my left eye Wigan’s Callum McManaman charging in, before engaging with a reckless challenge, missing the ball and, at full pace, planting his studs squarely against the knee of Haidara’s standing left leg. The Frenchman collapsed in agony and the action briefly continued before the whistle was blown and play was brought to a halt. I shot off a few more frames of him writhing around in agony before the player became surrounded by medical personnel and I had a chance to look back at my shot of the tackle…

 

Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic tackles Massadio Haidara of Newcastle United
Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic tackles Massadio Haidara of Newcastle United

 

Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic tackles Massadio Haidara of Newcastle United
Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic tackles Massadio Haidara of Newcastle United

 

I was pleased with what I saw, and immediately moved it onto my laptop to be cropped and captioned before sending it out.

Haidara was stretchered off, and yet McManaman got away without even a booking. At the end of the game, it became clear that this would be the main talking point, regardless of the result (a 2-1 victory to Wigan, incidentally), so I was pleased to know I had a couple of sharp frames of the incident. It wasn’t until later that evening, and then even more so the next day, that I’d realised what I’d got…

 

A collage of newspaper cuttings showing my images of Callum McManaman's horror tackle on Massadio Haidara
A collage of newspaper cuttings showing my images of Callum McManaman’s horror tackle on Massadio Haidara

 

Two days later, as the storm over Wigan calmed, I journeyed back over to St. George’s Park near Burton for another senior England training session, prior to their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers. As has become the standard at the FA’s new headquarters, we were afforded brilliant access for our 15 minutes, allowing us to get the pictures we needed…

 

England goalkeeper Joe Hart makes a save during their training session
England goalkeeper Joe Hart makes a save during their training session

 

Tom Cleverley (R), Scott Parker (C) and Glen Johnson
Tom Cleverley (R), Scott Parker (2R), Glen Johnson (2L) and Ashley Cole (L) during the England training session

 

Callum Chambers of England U19 (R) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal against Turkey in Telford
Callum Chambers of England U19 (R) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal against Turkey in Telford

 

After a bitterly cold night in Telford for the England U19 side, I caught the train up to Glasgow to cover Scotland’s World Cup Qualifier against Wales, the return fixture of the one I shot in October in Cardiff. The recent snowfall didn’t deter the fans from enjoying themselves, although it made for an awkward night’s work for photographers. Despite this, I managed to choose the right end (and even the right corner) for the 2nd half of the match, where Wales clawed back two goals in the same number of minutes to take victory in similar fashion to how they had done five months earlier…

 

Snow falls heavily at Hampden Park during Scotland's World Cup Qualifying match against Wales
Snow falls heavily at Hampden Park during Scotland’s World Cup Qualifying match against Wales

 

Aaron Ramsey scores a penalty for Wales to level the match at 1-1
Aaron Ramsey scores a penalty for Wales to level the match at 1-1

 

Hal Robson-Kanu scores for Wales with a header to give them a 1-2 victory
Hal Robson-Kanu scores for Wales with a header to give them a 1-2 victory

 

Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates after scoring Wales' winner
Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates after scoring Wales’ winner

 

That night, I stayed in Glasgow, before heading over to Ibrox the next morning for Rangers’ lunchtime kick-off against Stirling Albion in the Scottish League Division 3. There was a possibility that Rangers could win the league, if results went their way, so it was a game worth covering. As it happened, it turned out to be a terrible match, finishing 0-0 without any real incidents or talking points. I salvaged what I could from an extremely uneventful afternoon…

 

As Rangers players tussle with Stirling Albion players, signage around Ibrox reminds fans of what the club has won in their history.
As Rangers and Stirling Albion players tussle, signage around Ibrox reminds fans of what the club has won in their history.

 

Rangers manager Ally McCoist appears shocked at the performance of his players
Rangers manager Ally McCoist appears shocked at the performance of his players

 

Rangers fans hold up a banner asking for less time tweeting and more time training
Rangers fans hold up a banner asking for less time tweeting and more time training

 

A mother and daughter seem fairly unimpressed with the performance of the Rangers side
A mother and daughter seem fairly unimpressed with the performance of the Rangers side
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